Microsoft outlines how Hosted Web Apps can keep users engaged

Brad Stephenson

Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, Windows 10, Windows Phone

Microsoft’s new Hosted Web App format features a variety of benefits over the traditional web app and in an attempt to communicate this fact with app developers, Microsoft has written a blog post detailing exactly why more users and developers should get on board with this format.

While there were several challenges in getting a web app to communicate with a user, Microsoft’s Hosted Web Apps are granted native access to Windows features, such as Cortana, and can be launched from locations like a toast notification and a background task.

One of the more useful Hosted Web App features are the Live Tiles, which can be used to display app updates, notifications, breaking news, or game scores, and the system notifications themselves. Many users were given a taste of app Live Tiles in Windows 8 but notifications are a relatively new feature for Windows 10 and may not be a feature developers think about when building an app for the PC. Another system feature available to Hosted Web Apps that many developers may not be aware of is the native access to Bluetooth and NFC functions which can greatly enhance an app when used correctly.

The official blog post explains in detail how to access all of the relevant APIs for each of these features and it is recommended reading for anyone curious about the specific coding to use during the development process.

A Hosted Web App is essentially an app which hosts the majority of its content online and can have updates pushed directly to the app from the company’s server instead of through the Windows Store. Several major Windows 10 apps such as Shazam, Figure, and Yahoo Mail use the Hosted Web App format and Microsoft has been actively encouraging developers to experiment with the format due to its ease of use and short development time needed.